In a recent interview with casino expert, and green energy pioneer, David Katz, he had mentioned the effects of the economy on casinos in Ohio. Following up on that, he was called to discuss what is next for the gaming industry.
Below is a compressed version of the interview, which he agreed to let us publish.
Interviewer (I): You seemed bearish on Ohio recently, but bullish on more exotic locations. Can you elaborate?
David J. Katz (DJK): It speaks for itself, really. The economy has improved to the point that entertainment doesn’t have to be limited to our own backyards. And Ohioans, who have always worked very hard, know that they should take advantage of this next wave of fortune.
I: Interesting. So, Vegas should see some prosperity as the decade closes out?
DJK: Sure, but there’s newer sin cities out there that will be attracting American tourists, particularly in developing nations like Cambodia.
I: Cambodia, really?
DJK: Absolutely! You might not know this, but there is a tax holiday for gaming profits. Money is going to be made like never before.
I: Can you elaborate? I mean, Cambodians aren’t known to have a lot of money.
DJK: Neither did Ohioans in 2009 when the markets crashed. But this is going to be fueled by outside money. Americans, Brits and the like are going to find themselves being invited to have good times like they’ve never had before, and the casino owners can arrange it because money that would have previously gone to taxes can now go to entertaining wealthy visitors.
I: But other casinos incentivize their players. How is this any different?
DJK: From what I have been organizing with –
I: So you’re on the inside.
DJK: – yes, Matt [David’s brother and business partner] and I have been called in as consultants by a hotelier who is working to stand out among the competition. Anyway, so from what I have been organizing, the incentives go beyond a free buffet for losing two grand at the blackjack tables or a free night’s stay with minibar access for spending every waking moment on the floor. When people come to Cambodia, there will be VIP treatment like other casinos reserve for movie stars.
I: Suites? Rides to and from the airport?
DJK: Extensive tours of the jungle, exclusive entry to very private clubs, private car and jet access.
I: That sounds nice, but what kind of player can have all this?
DJK: We’re working on the numbers, but most of it can easily be had by people who enjoy playing at the hundred-thousand-dollar level.
I: Per hand?
DJK: (Laughing heartily) Heavens no! Through the year. See, here in the states, half of that money gets lost in taxes and the other half might go to direct overhead, so the casinos are forced to be cheap – giving players a room and a meal ticket, and then bothering them if they want to spend the evening taking a bath. In Cambodia, money already goes further, but with no taxes, there’s a lot of room to work with.
Mr. Katz didn’t divulge which hotel chain he is working with, but did say that any traveler with a history of casino vacations in excess of $20,000 a year ought to expect an opportunity to take advantage of free airfare to Cambodia in the next 6 months.
As for things to do over there, he jokingly said to put it all on 17-Red, but also recommended meeting local families, who are very nice.